What Has Happened to These Boys?


I had taken this picture in early 2007 on our walk down from Kawkaban (at almost 3000 m) to Shibam (the other one, not that in the Hadhramaut). Yemen was my last travel destination when living in the Middle East. I got there just couple of months before leaving Kuwait for good.

When revisiting the picture of six boys which had been posted in another blog, I was wondering, what had happened to them in the past 10 years. On the picture, some of the boys had apparently got some candies and cookies from passing tourists, and the little one (second from left) looks a bit envious as he had missed out. The one on the right had cobbled together a little drum from a small cardboard box. The older boys (maybe nine or ten at the time) were wearing already traditional men garments, thobe and vest. They seem to be normal and happy children, of course not living in the best of all worlds.

I remember that even then I was a bit troubled when realizing how dependent their lives were on alms or, rather, little crumbles offered by tourists. And much tourism in Yemen had not even developed in those days.

The Romans had considered this part of the Arabian peninsula as Arabia Felix (Funduq al-‘Arabiya as-Sai’da) while the two other parts were called Arabia Deserta and, to the North, Arabia Petrea. The people in the Yemen have not been so lucky recently. Today, millions are at risk of starving to death as the mighty and ruthless neighbor to the North, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has assembled a coalition of other Arab nations and even Morocco. Of course, the United States under president Donald Trump are utterly supportive.

In particular KSA’s new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) is waging relentless war, allegedly fighting Houthi rebels. In 2015, the Houthis had ousted and exiled the current president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is now living in KSA. Hadi had been “elected” in 2012 after the former president Saleh had to resign during protests which were part of what had been designated the Arab Spring movement which is dead and gone.

KSA under MbS has tightened an air, land and sea blockade in response to a ballistic missile Houthi rebels had allegedly fired towards Riyadh airport on Saturday, November 4. It is said that Iran has provided the rebels with this and other missiles. The blockade might lead to the worst humanitarian crisis in decades.

It might in fact lead to the annihilation of most of the Yemenis.

10 November 2017 @ 5:50 am.

Last modified November 10, 2017.




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